Student Success in the Pursuit of Higher Education

Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation Graduate Award Students

Here’s a look at what success truly means to some of the brightest minds in Canada. It’s incredible insight into the future aspirations of the 2017 CST Graduate Award winners as they continue their pursuit of higher education.

“A PhD in Clinical Neurosciences with a focus on stem cell therapy and spinal cord regeneration will help me to become an innovative leader in the field of medicine.” - Regan Hamel, Gladys Neale Award Recipient

 “I am hoping to help further coral conservation in the face of climate change.” – Jenny Smith, Roland Lloyd Award Recipient

“I hope to develop a theatre company of devoted artists, teachers, and cultural influencers to collaborate with young Canadians and transform their ideas, writing and dreams into large-scale community productions.” - Lucas Olscamp, Kenneth Carter Award Recipient

They are the powerful young minds and voices determined to shape a bigger and brighter future for Canada.

CST’s 2017 Graduate Award recipients (Top Row L-R): Lucas Olscamp, Regan Hamel, Jenny Smith, Adam Groh (Middle Row L-R): Victoria Ivankovic, Raquel Poley, Gabrielle Bertrand-Pickfield (Bottom Row L-R): Nicole So, Celeste Matthews Not pictured: Alex Wong, Antoine Gauthier- Grégoire 

How CST’s Graduate Scholarships help students succeed

Since 1984, the CST Graduate Awards have been granted to academically-gifted, well-rounded CST Alumni entering a graduate program (Masters or Doctorate level). The awards help to support students whose financial situation makes it difficult for them to pursue their studies.

Each year, 10 students are selected from across the country to receive scholarships, which increased in value this year to $10,000, to support students in their pursuit of excellence in education.

How higher education can take students around the world

Many of this year’s award winners have gained incredible international experience during their post-secondary education.

Nicole So was born in Hong Kong and raised in Vancouver British Columbia, “I am a proud first generation immigrant.” So travelled to Northern Greece volunteering on the frontlines at a refugee camp with a team from Medecins Sans Frontieres to help provide humanitarian aid to refugees. She is currently in the Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs Program at the University of British Columbia. “My ultimate goal is to work in humanitarian aid international diplomacy or at a think tank to develop better social and public policies through innovation, institutional changes and transnational collaboration,“ So said.

For Victoria Ivankovic, higher education has led her to McMaster University, where her graduate program in Global Health, includes an opportunity that will take her to Maastricht University in The Netherlands. Ivankovic explained this will help her “develop global competencies which will contribute to the skillset necessary to practice medicine in the 21st century.”

Students share how a CST RESP helped them achieve success

CST’s Graduate Award winners are all CST RESP beneficiaries and expressed that it isn’t easy for students to pursue post-secondary school, especially given the rise in tuition fees and the cost of higher education in Canada.

“Without an RESP, I would never have been able to thrive. My CST Plan allowed me to focus on my studies and get involved in causes that are important to me,” said Celeste Matthews, who is currently a student at Osgoode Law School.  

Gabrielle Bertrand-Pickfield, is a student at the University of Toronto pursuing her Master of Arts in Classical Studies and said, “As a result of my RESP, I was able to graduate debt-free.”

Regan Hamel, who grew up in rural Saskatchewan, is studying at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. Hamel explained, “My RESP gave me the financial freedom to study abroad for a semester in Berlin, allowing me to gain fluency in a third language…volunteer with victims of the Syrian refugee crisis, and to network with some incredible students and professors from all around the world.”

Many of the award recipients explained how they were able to enhance their university experience on campus. Adam Groh is pursuing his Master of Sciences in Anatomy and Cell Biology at Western University and said, “Since I didn’t have to worry about working part-time or finding another source of income, I was able to participate in a lot of sports. I actually played varsity sports in first year.”

CST’s Scholarship Awards for high school students

The CST Scholarship Awards are awarded to two graduating high school students who are academically gifted and pursuing a post-secondary program. This scholarship is valued at $6,000.

This year's recipients include Clare MacDonald and Komahan Param who have gone above and beyond in their pursuit of post-secondary education. Their to passion to pursue higher learning propelled them to the top of their respective classes and fueled them to excel in various extra-curricular activities.

"I believe attending post-secondary will provide me with opportunities that otherwise, would not be possible,” said MacDonald who is in the Nursing program at St. Francis Xavier University. She dreams of providing nursing care around the world, “I will be able to help save lives, and this is something that I have always wanted to do.”    

How student scholarships in Canada build hope for the future

Raquel Poley describes receiving the Graduate Award as a “reminder of hope”. After a challenging year, Poley explained, “This scholarship has cleared a massive place in my mind, previously inhabited by worry, and has enabled me to pursue my studies with even more vigor.” Poley is studying at Dalhousie University and pursuing her Masters of Social Work.

Marine Biologist, Jenny Smith, is taking her education to the next level and pursuing her Masters of Biology at the University of Victoria. Smith said receiving the award was “life-changing, quite literally, as it made the difference between my not pursuing further education, and being able to follow my dreams!”

This year’s CST Graduate and Scholarship Award winners are Canada’s future leaders who are taking their hopes and dreams to incredible heights. The accomplishments of these brilliant young minds are inspiring and will help to create a positive future, not just here at home but around the world.